Love Over Gold

Dire Straits

Warner Brothers Records, 1982

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


You might call Dire Straits the "not-quite-ready-for-prime-time-band." The band was hardly flashy though somewhat tuneful, and lead singer Mark Knopfler was, at best, a shaky singer, preferring to speak his vocals a la Bob Dylan rather than sing them somewhat off-key.

By the time 1982 rolled around, some may have seen Dire Straits as a "one-hit wonder" as a result of their surprise hit "Sultans Of Swing." Unfortunately for the band, their effort that year, Love Over Gold, did little to diminish that opinion. Undoubtedly this was Dire Straits at their most pompous and overblown.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The fist sign of excess is shown, ironically, in the fact there are only five tracks on the whole album. But the shortest of these clocks in at just under six minutes - the single "Industrial Disease" - making this album very radio unfriendly.

And while "Industrial Disease" starts to show the direction that Knopfler was ready to take the band, it shows they weren't quite hitting the bull's-eye of writing pop songs. Knopfler's delivery is often very hard to understand, and the organ use makes the song sound like a bad, overdrawn version of "California Sun" at times. (Rule number seven of rock music: you can't get away with writing long songs until you've made it to the top.)

The remainder of the album basically repeats itself - overblown arrangements with little substance. The end result for the listner - boredom. Die-hard fans of the group may find the song "Telegraph Road" to be a masterpiece, but it's so much whacking off on the guitar and keyboards. This song could have been decent - maybe - if they had cut it in half.

There are a few songs which, had they been worked on a little longer and undergone the knife in the editing room, could have had some promise. The title track is a shade too long, while "It Never Rains" is a shade weak in the songwriting department. On the latter track, Knopfler's guitar work proves to be a greater distraction - he had yet to capture the shuffle that was on "Sultans Of Swing," and resorting to distortion in a solo isn't the answer.

And while I'm counting my blessings that Knopfler didn't pad this album with more crappy tracks, one wonders if the album couldn't have been improved with a few more tracks.

It's sometimes hard to believe that this is the same band that lept to the top of the charts with Brothers In Arms and the songs "Money For Nothing" and "Walk Of Life" - in some ways, maybe it wasn't the same band. But Love Over Gold is one painful growth process to plow through, and is not recommended except for diehard fans looking to complete their collections.

Rating: D

User Rating: B



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